"We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven." -Colossians 1:4-5
One of the highlights of our five-day Joni and Friends’ Family Retreats is Family Celebration Night, on our last evening together. It always ends with a kicky, upbeat song of praise that gets us folks in our wheelchairs out on the floor, wheelin’ and swingin’ to the music. It’s the next best thing to doing a jig!
Where does the joy come from? The inspiration always effervesces on that last night because that is when we underscore the happy-hearted hope of Isaiah 35:3-6. “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way…be strong and do not fear; your God will come…then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like deer, and the tongue of the dumb shout for joy.” If you were in a wheelchair, wouldn’t hope like that make you want to kick up your heels? But this year, I was doubly blessed. Right after our celebration night was over, the mother of a disabled child presented me with a special gift: a pair of red, high-topped tennis shoes! The mom explained, “Joni, all the parents chipped in for this gift for you. We’ve all signed our names to the shoes—they are your dancing shoes for when you get to heaven!”
In that moment, I burst out laughing. But that night, as I laid in bed, I was blinking back tears of gratitude. One day soon, Lord, I will dance…and leap like a deer….
The promise is for you, too, with all the challenges and trials you may be facing today. Friend, strengthen your feeble hands and steady those shaky knees. Soon our God will come. And together we will leap for joy.
Praise you, Lord, for the promise of health and strength and overflowing joy that you have given us as an inheritance.